ED – I wrote this over a year ago and left it in my drafts. I thought it was a bit too petty and it made me sound kinda lame and potentially a little mean to “Neil”. However, when I was cleaning my drafts folder, I reread it and thought parts of it were funny so I figured why not post it. It’s been a long time now and I’m sure Neil has moved on.

Throughout the years on this blog, I have had a couple of haters… Nothing major though, in fact, I can count them on one hand. And they sort of disappear pretty quickly. It had been years since the last one, but this(last) summer I got a fresh slew of hate comments and I went through a lot of emotions I would like to share with you.

When I noticed these comments, at first I was a little hyped. I know this is not healthy on my part but I have this longstanding and probably false impression that only people that matter on some level get haters. I mean if my blog was completely irrelevant then why even bother leaving a comment and if it was boring then they would have cliqued off earlier. Look, I know it’s just random trolls attention-seeking but let me have my little delusions!

Secondly, I was just happy about the engagement. I mean this kid managed to comment on like 8 different posts before the spam filter caught up with them. I keep wanting to say “him”. To be fair the fake name used is Neil Brown which sounds like a dude’s name. In any case, the initial reaction was satisfaction on a purely practical basis. I have to admit at that time, I didn’t really bother to read the comments. After all, these sort of comments are usually all the same and I kind of forgot about it. But the next time I sat down to answer my comments, I finally went through them more carefully.

This set off a new wave of amusement. I’m sounding like a supervillain… Most of the comments were the usual stuff: anime fans suck, if you like the gays yous should be murdered, kill yourself… you know, the classics! Man, I’m sorry if I just verbally assaulted a whole bunch of you without warning. I mean you’re probably used to the internet by now…

So the comments themselves are boring stock replies and don’t make me happy by themselves. I wonder if there’s a hate bot that leaves these and they just programmed a handful of responses. Anyways, boring stuff but the way they were unfortunately (or fortunately for me) used was awesome.

One of the first comments I read seemed to be aimed at me “This is why anime fans are the worst”. By itself a common and possibly even justifiable sentiment. But it was left on my yearly post about KyoAni. A short retrospective of the tragedy followed by a more hopeful short opinion piece about how the studio is doing two years later and how it managed to rebuild. In sum, the post was openly against burning people to death and pro rebuilding after a tragedy. It didn’t mention anime fans except for the fact that Kyoto Animation had received a lot of donations from all over the world and the only anime mentioned was Dragon Maid in which I only stated that it was airing this season which was pretty big step for the studio.

The comments were full of similar thoughts and support.

So if I overthink this and take it in context: Neil is either pro burning people alive (the scary answer may be yes, stay tuned for that) or against businesses rebuilding and the free market or something. Since the comments were supportive of the studio, if that’s what convinced him we are the worst, I have to assume Neil doesn’t like businesses. More likely he didn’t read the post and just leaves this comment on all anime blogs but I like to think that Neil here, is a staunch pro arsonists who is disgusted at the idea of people supporting a business resuming operations. Because if I stretch that interpretation enough it makes him sound like a communist and I like to think of Neil as a communist arsonist. He also called me honey a lot so I’m thinking middle-aged southern communist arsonist. In my mind, Neil wears an ornate straw hat with a large flower on it and offers people sweet tea a lot, but throws it in your face if you talk about how much you enjoy a purchase you made recently.

With this image in mind. I saw that Neil went on a tirade of telling people in my comments as well as me to kill ourselves. All these comments have the same form, You think “this”, kill yourself. Mine was You think gays are good, yeah kill yourself. Foovay got this wonderful reply to a pretty innocent comment: You think the word is getting better you should kill yourself. To which the only possible answer is, why would she kill herself if the world is getting better? Either logic or the English language is a bit of a challenge here. Which doesn’t change much about the image I had of Neil except that now he was also sad and occasionally crying while sipping his sweet tea. You know, because the world is not getting better. Emo southern communist arsonist.

After a while though, I got a bit tired and the amusement turned to actual wonder. If we take Neil Brown at face value, he is an anime hater who thinks the world would be better served through mass suicide. However, he also seemingly spends time not only looking up and finding anime-specific blogs. You don’t just randomly stumble in here and I don’t advertise anywhere, this took effort. And after that wastes even more time commenting on a slew of unrelated posts, with no actual message to give.

Neil isn’t telling us what to change, except of course the killing ourselves bit, he isn’t advertising anything, he isn’t expressing any outrage other than being mad at the world getting better… I have a lot of fellow anime bloggers that I love. They enjoy anime content and seek it out because it’s something they want to do for themselves. They are also nice to me so they might read my blog cause they are sweethearts. Not one of them would leave as many comments as Neil did… I have rarely inspired this type of dedication, and the goal is completely nebulous.

After all this, I finally started to feel a little sad. OK, sadness may be too strong a word but something like a light ethereal bummed outness. Like I said before, I realize this is a rando troll just leaving the types of comments they think might get a reaction. Or potentially even a bot. For shits and giggles and all that. It ain’t that deep bro. But it also means that this is the best Neil could come up with. Whether it’s a bot or not. Bot or not is fun to say!

This poor kid (and/or programmer), not only doesn’t have anything more interesting to do with his life than to seek out a tiny blog he has no interest in and leave irrelevant comments on posts he doesn’t read, but even the comments he does leave just kind of suck. No one was hurt or outraged. I didn’t even bother to take off the ones directed at readers because they were too innocuous to do damage. And I can’t imagine Neil got any satisfaction out of it. They were pretty much ignored or simply told to politely fuck off without ceremony.

Now trolling is an artform. It can be creative or at least well done. You can troll a person in such a way that it’s interesting and conceivably fun. At least for some of the people involved. I’m not saying you should troll by the way, it probably will make you not a great person, but it is possible to troll well. You can also troll in a way that’s entertaining even for those that are only witnessing it. And you can also actually hurt people if that’s what gets you all hot and bothered. There have been comments on this blog that have bothered me a lot. I don’t talk about them because I feel like that would bring them more attention and make them more real or something, but there have been some.

These were not in that category. Once you strip everything away, they were just not very good troll comments. And that’s kind of sad, you know?

I will admit, I partly wrote this post cause I’m in a bit of an idea slump right now and I didn’t know what to write about. I also wrote it because I’m kind of curious if any of my fellow anime bloggers got some juicy Neil Brown comments in late July/ early August last year. I want to know if he got better at it. He sort of just stopped commenting abruptly and I was wondering if he read a post where I talk about my girlfriend and choked himself clutching his pearls too tightly. I’m a little worried you guys.

36 thoughts

  1. Neil hasn’t been near my blog. I wonder if he took his own advice and killed himself? 🤔 But reading this blog, I had a mental picture of a (slightly cracked) robot stranded in some spaceship or satellite randomly sending out hate messages (a hate bot – get it!) to blogs. He doesn’t like and doesn’t want to do it, but he can’t break his programming and can only dream of being rescued. I think someone should make an anime from this (and pay me large royalties for coming up with the idea).

  2. I am fortunate to not have Neil or really any Neil-types on my blog. Glad he either gave up or moved on for whatever reason for you though, although your profile of him is rather humorous!

  3. Someone told me to kill myself over an Evangelion fan theory, but that was somewhat expected with how passionate people get over that series, lol.

    This article is so charming, I love how you had the courage to call out a toxic hater and found the humor in a bad experience.

    1. No way, over Eva! You have to miss the point of the show tragically to tell people to kill themslves over Eva… Like you said, people are passionate!

  4. I could very easily say something particularly dark about why you haven’t heard from Neil for a while, but I will refrain from doing so out of common decency! Use the most inappropriate part of your imagination! 🙂

  5. I never had the misfortune of experiencing this particular commenter, but to add to things and make it clear you’re not alone in experiencing bad/irrelevant/useless feedbacks, I’ll also share that I receive plenty of hate, but curiously enough, people don’t do it directly on my blog. They rarely do. Instead, they whine incessantly about how “I love the sound of my own voice” and the like elsewhere on the ‘net, whether it be Reddit, various forums, Twitter, AniList, etc. In fact, I think MyAnimeList and Anime News Network has a “ban on sight” policy for anyone who links to my blog.

    Comments like “Neil Brown”‘s are rare, and when they do happen, I just discard them, mark them as spam, block their IP address, and then, if they crossed a line, make fun of them via Protonmail (that’s never happened before, but I do have a contingency for this sort of thing). At the end of the day, we bloggers know who we are, and we’re not going to let some nobody online kick us around. Oh, and I highly doubt “Neil Brown” is a programmer. I’m a programmer, and I’m too busy to waste life trolling anime blogs, especially when 1) I’d rather be enjoying the community and 2) solving real problems. Maybe this “Neil Brown” failed out of “Introduction to Computer Programming”‘s second lecture on string concatenation.

    1. Well, maybe they programmed that bot in high school before responsability set in, you know.
      Good thing your blog is a safe heaven!

  6. A storied era of I Drink and Watch Anime lore: Neil Brown, the emo communist arsonist southerner. Not too good at trolling, but offers some meaningful toxicity when things are just a tad too quiet.

    Brilliant. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Haha. I’ve had several comments from the same person telling me to kill myself and calling me gay. I took great pleasure in replying in the most sarcastic way possible. It’s not often I get to use that much sarcasm.

    I’ve seen their comments on numerous blogs too. It’s kind of sad, especially as most people don’t even reply. I think Neil just wants a hug…

    1. Now I feel kind of bad, because I’ve never gotten a hater comment on my blog. I guess that’s only for big name blogs! Sniff, sniff. (silent tear)

      1. We’re all better off without them. They seemed to target reviews of shows with gay elements. One of mine was on Otherside Picnic. They didn’t seem to like that I thought the two MCs should kiss…

  8. You know what? I liked today’s story. You truly are special. I don’t think I ever ran into a reviewer with a possibly maybe genuinely favorite antagonist (hater) before. That’s heartwarming… I think. Then again I usually think watching Sir Sic complaining about the crazies of YouTube is heartwarming so your mileage may vary.

    I too have only had a small handful of hate… Sadly for me I always seems to get the hate that makes me probably the antichrist of Fandoms. Like that’s something I haven’t gone through before. Who remembers that lady who was once the Pony fandom voice of Muffins/Derpy? I forget her name… But for some reason she developed a hatred for me because I reviewed her work on my old audio podcast. And was always very positive with a few well meaning critiques… No no. Not like School Zone Girls. That’s genuine stop making my brain hurt critiques.

    The voice of Rarity blocked me on Twitter. William Shatner blocked me on Twitter. And I’m disliked by at least one old era erotic Anime fan fic writing team… Well that’s enough high profile hate for me.

    On the plus side I think I made a good impression on AmeriManga pioneer who created Ninja High School. My interview with the creator of Sorcerers And Secretaries (TOKYOPOP OEL Manga back when they did that) inspired her to change part of the second volume of her two volume book. And some creators actually tolerate me. So… Yay.

    1. Oh wow, I thought you didn’t use Twitter because it rots your brain. That was a fun comment.

  9. Just ignore that person and delete his comments on your blog. I’m also a hater (if someone’s action would offend me in anyway possible), but I will not contemplate on people performing mass suicide.

  10. Oh God. This was hilarious to read! I’ve got this horrifying mental picture of Neil now. He probably didn’t even read what he was commenting on, just mumbled random comments. Never encountered him but I did get one very pissed off fan who took one of my posts and wrote a point by point rebuttal with screenshots and the most surface level takes imaginable. Considering the effort they put in I wanted to low key make that my next post but alas.

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